Women's Hoops Return from Holiday Break

Dec. 28, 2001

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This Week
The Broncos close out a three-game homestand to end the 2001 calendar year with a 2 p.m. contest on Dec. 29 against CS Northridge, a preview to the men's Cable Car Classic later that evening at the Leavey Center. The Matadors (0-8) will be looking for their first win of the season.

Live on the Internet
Santa Clara's contest this weekend against CS Northridge can be heard on a live Internet audio broadcast on www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Additionally, all home contests can be followed online with a live statistical tracker, also located on Santa Clara's official athletic website. By logging on, fans can receive real-time updated statistics direct from the official scoring computer allowing users to listen to the audio broadcast and keep up with the statistics simultaneously. The features were introduced midway through last season and have been enjoyed for the team's entire regular season home schedule. Anthony Passarelli begins his first season as the voice of the Broncos.

Broncos Continue Tradition of Strong Start
With its 9-2 record to start the week, Santa Clara has started the season as strong as it has in three of the past four years. Although the team was 8-3 at this point last season, SCU opened the 1999-2000 schedule with nine straight wins before dropping two straight. The year prior, Santa Clara opened the season with eight straight wins and was 10-1 after 11 contests.

In the Rankings
Although the Broncos are not ranked in the top 25 polls yet, the team has received votes in the last four weeks after topping two top-25 teams in its first four games. Santa Clara peaked with 12 votes in the AP poll and nine in the USA Today/ESPN listing while the Broncos' RPI ranking topped at 11th nationally by CollegeRPI.com. This week, the Broncos have four votes from the USA Today poll, one from AP, and are 21st in the CollegeRPI listing. As a conference, the WCC is ranked 11th by CollegeRPI.com.

Non Conference Success
With a 9-3 non-conference mark last season, Santa Clara has posted 10 straight non-losing non-conference seasons and is 84-38 (.689) during that span. The Broncos were also a part of the WCC's success last season, as the league marked its most successful women's basketball non-conference season ever, 26 games over .500.

Scouting the CS Northridge Matadors
Series Record: SCU leads 4-0
First Game: Santa Clara won 70-52 on Dec. 16,1990 in Santa Clara
Last Game: Santa Clara won 84-64 on Jan. 4, 1996 in Northridge
Largest SCU Margin of Victory: 35 on Jan. 11, 1993 (96-61) in Santa Clara
CSN Record in 2000-2001: 9-18-1 (5-10-1, t-6th in Big West Conference)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Notable: CSN is still looking for its first win of the season... the Matadors are 0-8, its most recent loss to top-ranked Connecticut on Thursday... the team is led by sophomore Jenny Shelters' 14.5 ppg average... CSN has lost all but one of its contests by double figures... its closes lost came Dec. 18, a four-point defeat to Portland State.

Gruening from Downtown
Caroline Gruening has made at least one three-pointer in each of the Broncos' 11 games and has shot over .250 from behind the arc in each of those contests. On five of those occasions, Gruening has hit at least three treys, and knocked down four in consecutive games against San Jose State and Stanford. In the team's first two tournaments, she went 8-21, As of late however, she has been making more of them at a higher percentage. During the middle four games of action she combined to shoot 10-17. The last three contests has seen Gruening nail 7-10, making her shots at an 70-percent clip from behind the arc. Overall this season, Gruening is shooting 52.1 percent from the land of plenty (25-48), while only hitting 10-40 from inside the arc.

Up Next: Wrapping Up Conference Play
After the holiday, Santa Clara will visit TCU before kicking off the West Coast Conference season against Gonzaga and Portland. If the Broncos win this week against CS Northridge and against the Horned Frogs, SCU will have finished the non-conference season with an 11-2 mark... its best record outside the WCC in the last 10 seasons.

Season/Game Tickets On Sale
Season and individual game tickets for Santa Clara are on sale through the school's official website www.SantaClaraBroncos.com and the athletic ticket office at 408-554-4660. In conjunction with Student Advantage's FANSonly Network, the athletic department has developed an online ticket application that provides fans with the ability to purchase season tickets, family plans, individual games or an all-sports pass via the official athletic website. Season and individual match ticket packages are also available through the athletic ticket office, open between the hours of 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Head Coach Chris Denker
In his first season as head coach, Chris Denker (Oregon '90) led the Broncos to a share of the regular season WCC title with Saint Mary's. The championship made Denker and first-year Gael coach Michelle Jacoby the first first-year coaches to win a women's basketball title in the WCC, taking into consideration both rookie head coaches and previously experienced head coaches in their first year with a league squad. Additionally, the victory over Pepperdine on Jan. 11 made Denker the winningest first-year head coach in SCU history, surpassing 10-year head coach Ken Thompson's first year mark of nine wins in the 1978-79 season. Now in his second season with a 29-10 career mark, Denker was no stranger to Santa Clara basketball. Serving as an assistant coach on Caren Horstmeyer's staff for the last seven years, Denker was the top recruiting and offensive coordinator. His teams amassed a 137-64 (.682) overall record, including a 69-29 (.704) mark in West Coast Conference play. The Broncos have also won three WCC Championships under his watch and advanced to the postseason four times. He has also been an assistant coach Idaho State University and South Eugene (Ore.) High School. As a collegiate player, Denker lettered in basketball as a freshman at Boise State University before transferring to Linn Benton Community College the next year. At LBCC, he served as the basketball team captain and earned honorable mention All-League recognition in 1987.

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